Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury. 1953/2003. Random House. 190 pages.

It was a pleasure to burn. 

Fahrenheit 451 is so wonderful, so beautiful, so amazing that it almost leaves me speechless. It is a haunting story of a bleak future. Our hero, Guy Montag, is in a loveless marriage with his wife, Mildred. He meets a young, vibrant girl, Clarisse, and they talk--talk of nothing and everything. She dares to think, to ask questions, to be curious, to be full of wonder and life, to have a spark of something that has almost been lost in society and civilization. But, her tragic end helps focus Montag's perspective. It has been coming for a while now, perhaps ever since meeting that old man, Faber, in the park, but Montag knows that he can no longer live the lie. He no longer wants to burn books, to burn houses of people who love books. He no longer wants to be a fireman. He wants to read books; he wants to learn; he wants to know what it is like to LIVE again, to think, to think critically, to think about things even if it means being sad or sorrowful or anxious and worried. He doesn't want to be mindlessly entertained by "the family" on three of his walls or a seashell in his ears. Even if there is a scary war coming. He wants to stand against the majority and face reality.

I think this is a book everyone needs to least once. I could easily read it once a year! It's just a wonderful novel!!!

Favorite quotes:
Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won't stomach them for a minute...Remember, Montag, we're the happiness boys. We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought. (50-1)  
 We've started and won two atomic wars since 1990! Is it because we're having so much fun at home we've forgotten the world? Is it because we're so rich and the rest of the world's so poor and we just don't care if they are? Is that why we're hated so much? Do you know why? I don't, that's sure! Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. God, Millie, don't you see? An hour a day, two hours, with these books, and maybe... (62)
Good God, it isn't as simple as just picking up a book you laid down half a century ago. Remember, the firemen are rarely necessary. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord. (78)
 It’s been a long time. I’m not a religious man. But it’s been a long time.’ Faber turned the pages, stopping here and there to read. ‘It’s as good as I remember. Lord, how they’ve changed it in our parlors these days. Christ is one of the family now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn’t making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshiper absolutely needs.’ (81)
Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You'd find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more 'literary' you are. That's my definition, anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. the mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies. So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. we are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. (83)
There is a richness in Fahrenheit 451, a depth that most books don't have perhaps. There's just something about it that makes it timeless and memorable and thought-provoking.

Read Fahrenheit 451
  • If you like to read books
  • If you find intellectual freedom important
  • If you enjoy science fiction, particularly vintage science fiction
  • If you are looking for a timeless classic
  • If you enjoy dystopias 

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Jillian said...

Oh my! I just bought this book. It sounds incredible. Can't wait to read it. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have yet to read a Ray Bradbury book. Shameful, I know. I will have to start with this one. Thank you for the lovely post. It was especially good to see all of the covers that you presented.

hopeinbrazil said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book. The scene near the end with the people who have memorized whole books is amazing. The movie version was pretty dumb except for that last, powerful scene.

It's a must-read for book lovers.

Stephanie said...

I finally read this book, a few weeks ago, for the first time. I can't believe I put it off this long. It is such an amazing book, especially when you consider it was one of the first of its kind, and it's full of thought-provoking passages. :-)

Abigail@The Story Factory Reading Zone said...

I really enjoyed this book as well. Here's the link to my review about it:

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I love this one so very much!

April said...

This is an amazing book, I absolutely love it.

Kerr's about reading said...

I think you've really nailed what makes this book so special. I wrote about it on my blog too, but found it difficult to explain what made this book so special to me. How sad that there will be no more Bradbury stories. I was so excited to see that Curiosity's landing site will be known as "Bradbury Landing".

Lisa said...

I loved this book too. Especially how the author champions books as alternative to the mindless tv, like the reality shows people are watching now.